Pinellas Park, Florida -- Police say a business in Pinellas Park was supposed to be serving up therapy. Instead, they say, workers were offering illegal massages -- even sex -- for money.
Executive 19 in Pinellas Park was advertised as an aromatherapy business. But neighbors and police say something about the place just didn't smell right.
"We found no evidence of aromatherapy inside the business," said Sgt. Adam Geissenberger.
In fact, after several weeks of undercover investigation what Pinellas Park detectives did find was every reason to believe the business was a front for unlicensed massages and prostitution. On Tuesday, they arrested 41-year-old Teresa Duckett Wallace who they say confessed to the illegal activity.
"I was surprised when you said that, but I have been asked by a truck driver if there was still a house of prostitution over there, a 'whorehouse' as he put it, and I had no idea," said David Townsend, a neighboring worker.
Executive 19 was advertised on Backpage.com and Creative Loafing as offering "Seductive Ladies for a flat fee. Exotic blondes, brunettes and redheads available six days a week."
We tried to catch up with the owner of Executive 19, an 83-year-old by the name of Wayne Replogle, who lives in a South Pasadena gated community. Replogle did not immediately return our phone calls, but police say he told them his name was only on the license as a deterrent for the girls who worked there. Replogle also told police that he had told the women "don't do anything you don't want."
For now Executive 19 is still open while it's given a brief opportunity to appeal the city's demand that it surrender its license for lying about what the business's true intent was. It's also possible, detectives say, there may be more arrests.
"The investigation continues. I will tell you that anyone found to be engaging in massages without permits, or prostitution, or engaging in any other illegal acts, will be investigated and prosecuted," said Sgt. Geissenberger.
On Wednesday, Wallace was still in the Pinellas County Jail on prostitution charges.